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Entries about spain

Barcelona: Parc Guell

By Hannah

sunny 20 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Barcelona: Parc Guell

Barcelona: Parc Guell

Today we went to visit Park Güell. We took the very handy metro in order to get there. The subway station is yet another useful thing that is located conveniently close to our apartment. The weather was on our side, and we spent the next few hours walking around in the warm sunshine. The park was originally commissioned to Antonio Gaudi as a housing complex. However, only two lots were ever bought, and it was eventually opened as a public park in 1926. It's a whimsical place, with mosaics and spirals and curving staircases and balconies. There were quite a few vendors, artists, and musicians around. It's a good place for them, too, as the park was full to bursting with visitors. We had a tough time seeing some of the art because there were so many people. It was still beautiful though, even with some of it under restoration. When we took a break, we got to listen to music and chatter in all sorts of languages. The view from the top of the park was incredible. We were able to point out different buildings we'd seen and visited, such as the Sagrada Familia Basilica and Torre Agbar.

Barcelona: Parc Guell-View From

Barcelona: Parc Guell-View From

After we'd seen our fill, we headed back home on the metro to do a bit of grocery shopping and other chores in preparation for our travel day tomorrow. Abby and I also baked some more, making our favourite famous Tollhouse cookies. This was a little easier said than done, as we had no measuring utensils and were missing two ingredients, but we still managed to pull it off. The batches got steadily better as we went along. Dinner was chorizo sausages, salad and focaccia bread with olive oil and vinegar. The latter was Abby's idea and very easy to pull off, as the supermarket sells ready-to-bake focaccia loaves. This along with the rich sausages made for quite the delicious meal. After supper, we readied our bags and wound down the evening by watching and episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot on Netflix. We also got to talk to our mom (hi there) over Skype, and get an update on things back home. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Carcassonne, or at least near there, and will be leaving Spain behind. I hope to come back someday soon. It's an amazing country, and we have had our fair share of interesting and worthwhile experiences here.

Barcelona: Parc Guell

Barcelona: Parc Guell

Posted by KZFamily 12:58 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona park spain gaudi guell Comments (1)

Off to Tarifa

By Ben

overcast 15 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Tarifa: Our lodgings

Tarifa: Our lodgings

We finally left Luz to see more of Europe. We headed back to Spain to get to the port city of Tarifa from which we will set sail to Africa (sounds adventurous doesn't it?). Our car travel was uneventful. The weather was less than stellar but the temperature stayed at around 15 or 16 degrees. We see that both Spain and Portugal have invested heavily in wind power especially in the south. Tarifa being located where the Iberian Peninsula gets very close to Africa experiences constant wind throughout the year making it the wind surfing capital of Spain if not Europe. Even with nasty weather the long beach front was dotted with all modes of windsurfing.

Tarifa: Our Place

Tarifa: Our Place

We like our accommodation which we booked on-line a few days before. It looks like it would be quite the tropical paradise in the summer. It is supposedly more typical of the Andalucía region.

Muriel and I headed into Tarifa to check into details about getting to Morocco. It is not a very pretty looking town; it seems like your typical gritty port town with a lot of surfers and wind surfers thrown in. It is early to bed so we can get to Tarifa at 8:00 am and catch a 9:00 am sailing.

Posted by KZFamily 10:03 Archived in Spain Tagged spain tarifa Comments (1)

Travelling to Spain

By Muriel

overcast 15 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

On the road again, it's good to be on the road again....actually, we have only gone about 300 km today but find ourselves in a new culture and changed surroundings, with a new, melodic language to learn (or butcher, as the case may be). We crossed the border into Spain today -- it was nondescript what with the borderless EU approach, much different than when we made the same crossing twenty years ago -- at that time, we were met with a very somber looking crew of border guards with machine guns. Again, we elected for the toll roads to cut the time by two hours but paid for it (literally); the total cost was 23 euros. Crazy. I think we'll have to take the slow roads to Madrid, either that, or skip a breakfast or two. Mind you, that might help the waistline as well.

We have perched our moose, whom we seemed to have named Maurice / Mo by default for now because we cannot all agree, up on the dashboard of our Kangoo -- a little Canadiana to remind us of our roots. He comes on some of our outings and is included in pics when we remember; continue to look for him in future posts.

On our first freeway rest stop in France several days ago, Ben and I encountered a great bathroom, with a lot of automation. Therefore, when we next stopped along a highway a few days later, I told the kids "You're going to love these bathrooms!" Abby looked in expectedly and said, "Where are the toilets, Mom?" Oops -- it seems not all rest stop bathrooms are created equal: these new ones only had little porcelain feet to stand on but no 'bowls' of any kind. I think it's best that they get used to things like this as it will help prepare them for Turkey, and perhaps some of our accommodation along the way.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

On our way to Bilbao, we stopped in the seaside town of San Sebastian. It only took me 12 minutes to get a parking permit (6 minutes to wait and 6 minutes to figure out how to do it) so we only had an hour to spend there. We chose to spend it walking along the beautiful promenade next to the ocean front. We saw resemblances between it and one of the walks that our Brazilian friends showed us in southern Brazil (in Itapema). We notice that the Latin cultures seem to cater to these wide promenades, allowing for a relaxed, comfortable stroll. Many families, often crossing three generations, were out together on the Sunday afternoon. The breakwater here was made of massive stone cubes, tossed together by some giant. Hannah commented that it looked like art because it was so casually beautiful. We are looking forward to the architecture here in Spain: Bilbao and Barcelona are known for their interesting structures.

Arriving in Bilbao, we tried to find a parking venue, knowing that we had no parking on the street in front of our place. That proved very challenging, but after travelling down a few narrow streets we think MAY have been pedestrian walkways, we came upon a parking garage. By that time, we didn't bat an eye at the exorbitant prices, just thankful to be out of our car. We had phoned our host to try to get directions to our place but found his English was only marginally better than my Spanish so we were pretty well on our own. Did you know that the Bilbao streets have two names, one in Spanish and the other, in Basque? No, neither did we. We were armed with the Spanish names, however, it turns out the handy city map app on Ben's cell phone uses Basque names. We told the girls that this is how things are when you're travelling (never a dull moment). We put all our worldly belongings on our backs and proceeded in the direction we recalled from our car GPS. The lodging was about 1 km away but these girls are tough now and we heard no complaints. (It's still a lot easier than the West Coast Trail.) We're now settling down to a quiet evening at 'home,' doing laundry (each load takes about 2 hours in the washing machine) and drinking the Beaujolais Neuveau. Ben got a two for one deal on the wine so will drink one for himself and one for you, Jim.

Beajuolais Noveau

Beajuolais Noveau

Posted by KZFamily 11:07 Archived in Spain Tagged spain san_sebastian Comments (4)

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